Investing in Ice Molds
When you’re hosting a party, it’s tempting to grab a couple bags of ice from the neighboring bodega, but reserve those solely for topping off coolers and buckets. For cocktails, like an old fashioned, invest in a clear ice mold or maker. Crystal-clear ice spheres are aesthetically superior from everyday cubes made with tap water and a plastic tray, but they’re a pain to make without some assistance. Usually you’d have to boil distilled water twice to remove impurities, but air bubbles tend to get stuck in the center and thwart translucency, which brings us to clear-ice makers.
Wintersmiths The Phantom Ice Maker: For guaranteed results, you can’t beat the patented technology from Wintersmiths. Their ice maker manipulates the freezing process to dissipate air bubbles and remove impurities before they’re frozen inside the cube or sphere. The end result is denser and slower to melt, diminishing dilution. The Phantom has the capacity to make seven 2.36″ ice balls, six large 2″ cubes, 16 standard 1.25″ cubes, four 5″ tall collins spears, and five diamond-like ice prisms (each shape-specific tray is sold for added cost). The Phantom Mini ($85) can make three 2.36″ ice balls and three small 1.11″ ice balls. Just fill the stainless steel container with regular tap water, then freeze for 24-48 hours. After, you’ll peel off the silicone Shape Tray to reveal the flawless ice.
Rabbit Sphere Clear Ice Tray: If you’re not worried about producing pristine, glass-like ice every time and, instead, want an affordable tray, this fits the bill. When determining ice size and shape, note a large sphere will melt slower than a large cube (Rabbit King Cube Ice Mold), and even more so than small cubes and uniform crushed ice (Rabbit Crushed Ice Mold). Of course certain cocktails thrive with specific kinds of ice: juleps, mules, and tiki drinks should get crushed ice; highball drinks (think gin and tonic) thrive with collins spears; and any spirit on the rocks should get a single large cube or sphere.
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